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Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Thu 16 Oct , 2014 22:56 pm
by TDIPower
We upgraded to the latest version of quckcam pro a couple of years ago as the school had upgraded to windows 7.
I gave up trying to use it due to limitations on school computers (tied up so tight and not given admin access etc)
So the micromills have stood idle until now. I grabbed a couple of old laptops with RS232 ports destined for the bin, installed the software I wanted, running xp professional and back in business!!

So that's the background... Now the problems...

Simple half bottle profile drawn up in Prodesktop, exported as STL (binary) and into quickcam pro.
Once I overcame the problem of speeds and feeds; the default for a 6mm ball was Spindle speed of 3000rpm and feed of 2000mm/min. This meant the micromill was running flat out at 2800rpm and 400mm/min; I know from the early days of getting the micromill they tend to loose position if you run much above 300mm/min which it was doing.
So feeds/speeds set at 2000rpm and 300mm/min I thought I would be ok.....

Not so... and I'm not sure why, is it a Post processing issue or a VR milling 5 issue.

When running the 7500 lines of code with turbo engaged it will at random points stop, the cutter keeps spinning but no travel. The only way to get out of the situation is to close VR milling via task manager in XP; doing this leaves the spindle spinning at a low revs but once VR milling is reloaded and the machine homed I can turn off the spindle.
With turbo off I have been able to run full machining.
When Turbo is engaged and running the program I can here what sounds like the door lock solenoid clicking in and out.
Looking at the code I cant see anything out of the ordinary.

I am wondering if I am not using the correct post processor for the Micromill 2000 but both throw up the same issues of the program hanging.

So far I have tried
DENFORD (floating head metric) - milling
DENFORD (Metric) - milling

Can you tell me which I should be using?

I know its a bit of a tricky one as it is not clear if it will be a VR Milling or Quickcam issue so I though I would be sure the post process is correct then look at VR Milling.



Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Fri 17 Oct , 2014 18:36 pm
by Martin
DENFORD (Metric) - milling.

Can you try running "Denford Machine Firmware EasyUpgrader" to check the NextStep card is up to date. You can download it from, ... -downloads

Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Fri 17 Oct , 2014 19:06 pm
by TDIPower
Will do on Monday.



Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Mon 20 Oct , 2014 20:09 pm
by TDIPower
Installed and run but it reports it can't find a valid machine.

FYI the 2 micromills are red 7 segment display, one is V2.1 the other V2.13 software according to the eproms.


Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Mon 20 Oct , 2014 21:38 pm
by Martin
I think QuickCAM Pro will only work correctly when connected to a NextStep control card via USB.


Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Mon 20 Oct , 2014 22:35 pm
by Steve
Hi. The VR milling software could be upgraded to the latest version which may help. The denstep control card does not process information fast enough to be able to run 3 d profiles well but it should get there in The end. The Denford metric post is correct.
It sounds like the communications are locking up which is the problem. When the machine stops if you press pause and play does it continue to run? May be an issue with the spindle so you could try with a slower speed and see if that helps.

Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Tue 21 Oct , 2014 20:57 pm
by TDIPower
Firstly I gather that the genera thought is that the problem lies in VR5 rather than Quickcam Pro (when I contacted denford about upgrading we checked the control cards/eproms and were told it would run and no mention that there could be any issues with 3D profiles.
Should we move this conversation in the to VR5 section or let it run out on here?

My thought too was that there was a loss of communication; I tried swapping RS232 leads with no improvement then ran the program with Turbo turned off which did work (also stopped what sounded like the door lock solenoid from clicking). This did further my thoughts about a loss of data/communication and issues with the program (door solenoid clicking whilst running the program). When it does freeze the only way I have found to be able to do anything is to close VRmilling via task manager which oddly lists 2 copies of VRmiling as running but both 'not responding'. When the program is functioning normally task manager only lists one copy of VRmilling running. I will try pause/play tomorrow.

I used to run the V2 version of VRmilling that came with the micromills back around 2002 with 3D profiles with no issues, I had both the machines running almost all day with GCSE projects (cutting modelling foam) then other projects along the years.

Are you saying that V5 communications are different to V2, I would have thought that when selecting the micromill in the set up that communications would be set correctly for the machine. Having said that I did have an issue when I was trying to get VR5 to talk to the machines a while ago and found a setup up error in the program.

The only reason we moved onto VR5 was to recover the use of techsoft and that the school had updated to new Intel i3 Dell PC's running Win7 and made me move from my own network (P4s running XP) to the schools network.

I don't really want to have to go down the route of having to use 2 versions of VR milling V2 for 3D and V5 for 2.5D.

One thing I did notice was that The G Code programs produced by Quick Cam Pro seem to include some I and J commands but I don't remember the Old post processor including such commands. The Micromills seem to follow these instructions and it doesn't look like it is freezing on these.

How would running the spindle at 2800rpm cause a problem with the program? I will try knocking it back to 2000rpm as well.

Cheers Pete

Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Wed 22 Oct , 2014 22:23 pm
by TDIPower
Had a bit of a play today, I realised I had in fact changed the settings for the spindle speed to 2000rpm and not 2800rpm (to give some headroom for manual speed adjustment via the pot on the front panel).

Ran the file again, about 600 lines in it froze, I tried clicking on the pause button and pointer changed to the hour glass. I had task manager open and as I clicked on the pause button a second VR milling appeared in the list of running programs, both had not responding after them.
I had to use task manager to end the program; I only needed to tell task manager to close one and they both ended a moment later the error reporting box popped up which I just exited.
When I ran VR5 again, it knew exactly where the cutter was (the read out on screen read the same as when it froze) and I didn't need to reset the zero point. However as there was no G code file open when I clicked on the re open option the one I had just run was second on the list. the last fully run program was top of the list. I ran the file again without changing any settings and it ran through it fine, no loss of position and no lock up.

I've down loaded the latest version of VR5 but not installed just yet.


Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Thu 23 Oct , 2014 9:21 am
by Steve

There is no difference in the way VR Milling 5 and VR Milling 2 processes the program or speed of manufacture The limitation for 3D is purley down to having serial communications and the Denstep control card along with a maximum feedrate of 600mm / min.

With a USB control card the program can be run faster as the moves can be linked together only slowing down where axis direction changes are required.

I suggested the slower spindle speed as the problem could be related to electrical noise created in the motor. If the motor has started to demagnetise it could be running overspeed and this could cause arcing on the motor brushes (causing electrical noise). If problems persist try running the program in air without the spindle running and see if this cures the issue.

If a Slower speed resolves the issue it may be you realy require a new spindle motor.

It sunds as if you had had the VR Milling running twice on the PC when you had the problem. Only the one connected to the machine which crashed would have been active and as you had to end it as the machine had crashed it lost the program data you had been running.

Re: Several issues with Quick cam pro and Micromill 2000

Posted: Thu 23 Oct , 2014 21:20 pm
by TDIPower
Cheers for the info re the spindle motor. I will keep my eye on that. How is the speed read by the controller? Does it just assume that it is running at a given speed for a voltage supplied to it or is there proper feedback from the spindle? I've not looked at the Micromills schematic diagram, I could take my RPM counter in and monitor it for a while.

I learnt at a very early age about travel/ramp up/ramp down speeds from my Dad; he used to fix CNC machines at GEC in Trafford Park Manchester. Needless to say the size of the machines were a little larger (punch card computers too) and the material very large lumps of steel to make turbine generators from. A lot more possibility for over travel :shock:

I am definitely only running one copy of VR5, it is only when it freezes that a second copy appears in Task Manager, it might just be XP having a hissy fit.

I am used to machining taking around 1hr for a reasonable quality finish that just requires a bit of work with wet&dry paper.

My plan is try and get some funding in the future for a newer machine or router. I have thought about getting into the F1 in schools program and use that as a justification with the Head. Having just blown all the good will on getting the Laser fixed (new tube) I think it will have to wait another year.

The only thing that has been consistent about the freeze is that it only happens when turbo is selected within VR5.

Just to clarify another point, a G code file produced in Quick Cam Pro should function in VR2 as well as VR5? I might just load up VR2 for a few test runs to see if that freezes too. As I said earlier the machines were working fine, the only variables have been changing to QCP and VR5 and moving from a P4 Viglin PC to a P4 Laptop.

Cheers for the help so far